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Want to Control the Universe With Your Mind? Join the Army

It's not too early to think about what to get the Army for the holidays. Actually, it is but that hasn't stopped it from asking for a "thought helmet." Yes, a thought helmet. It's exactly what it sounds like: a helmet that reads silent brain waves with sophisticated software that then translates waves into audible messages for others to hear. If Prince Harry was wearing one of the helmets here, he wouldn't even need the radio, we'd know exactly what he was thinking. . .

The US Army has just awarded a 5-year, $4 million contract to three American universities to develop helmets that would transform how soldiers communicate. How is this even possible? To find out,


To use the thought helmet, each person will have to be trained so computers can recognize individual mental patterns and read unspoken commands. They'll need to learn how to think loudly and clearly so their brain will send strong signals that can be distinguished from background noise. The Army neurologist overseeing the project doesn't think this will be hard because of the "clean, clear, and formulaic" way that soldiers are already trained to talk. Ultimately, they should be invaluable in combat and casualty care.

While it may be a decade or two away from reality, video gamers are already ahead of the, um, game. Next summer a $299 headset, which offers rudimentary version of brain wave technology, will hit the shelves. Scientists believe the army's more sophisticated technology will be useful to all of us in the future when we're able to talk on cell phones with only our most indoor voices — our thoughts.

I know what you're thinking; I am, too. Creepy? Mind reading, mind control, etc. But scientists preempted these accusations with this logic: every brain is unique and each person must train the system so it is impossible to do it unwillingly or without ongoing cooperation. Do you buy it? Is this technology a good idea, or just a scary thought?

Join The Conversation
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Well, shoot. Do I still need to get your permission then? JK :)
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
Actually, it was only a suggestion.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I'll do that. I'm glad I have your permission. ;)
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
Somehow, that doesn't surprise me! And you should just go get one! using any means that works for you.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I was wondering about a sandwich myself....
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
UnDave, I think you can do much better than that! I love it when we're not talking politics. Don't you! :naughty_elves:
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
That last one is fabulous, and I will be having that thought all day now as well.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Jude the control center would be writing something like this on me: Soldier is thinking about: whether or not she can pick her wedgie without anyone knowing. If she can get away with not shaving her legs one more day, is it shorts weather tommorow? alan rickman, gary oldman sandwich but dressed as Snape and Sirius Black
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
I agree with ilanac13. How many thoughts can one have in a minute. Three angry thoughts toward superior, one sexual thought, one thought about firing a weapon, one dumb thought ~ I think it could drive you crazy trying to hone in on the one thought you need.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I was thinking the same thing Jazz "Make me a cheeseburger." Nope, it isn't happening, I can't do it yet.
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
In response to [13] ~ maybe it would help some finally find a way to communicate with their spouse.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
On the other hand, if I can broadcast "CHRISTIAN BALE COME TO SAN DIEGO AND MARRY ME" to him for a half hour or so each day, and there was a chance it would work, I'd be okay with that. ;)
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
Jude please! DON'T GO THERE!! I can just imagine the nightmares :scared:
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
The future is starting to scare me.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Flip side of this technology: not only being able to read thoughts, but also to transmit ideas into others' minds. Perhaps without the intrusion being felt.
stephley stephley 8 years
According to Clarke, they're way ahead of you. China makes a lot of parts and software and he says, they always give themselves the option of getting in.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
:ROTFL: On a serious/creepy/sci-fi note, you know that if this technology takes off, I can absolutely imagine someone researching how to eavesdrop on people's private thoughts. It would sure make future elections an interesting prospect.
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
:rotfl: Jude, good point, but maybe you could charge! I'm sure you'd become a millionaire in no time ;)
stephley stephley 8 years
The post makes it sound like this is being taken into consideration Jude, but I imagine for now, they're getting a lot of cartoonish aoogha-aoogha transmissions.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I would be very embarrassed to have my thoughts broadcast in any way...most of them are dirty. :p
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
what's the real benefit though about having a helmet that can read your thoughts and communicate them? i'm not sure that it really benefits the army to have this - but then again, i'm sure they've considered the uses for this and have something in the back of their minds for useful applications. i don't know if i would want a helmet to read my thoughts especially while i'm in a stressful environment, but then again, i'm not putting myself in a position like that - so i don't know what to think really.
piper23 piper23 8 years
Let's hope our young uneducated military can figure out how to work the helmets.
stephley stephley 8 years
Former terrorism czar Richard Clarke's book "Breakpoint" is about cyber-terrorism, and he talks about things like thought helmets and bionic replacement parts - at the end of the book, he dedicates several pages to the real-life counterparts of the cyber-projects that he uses in the book - I was equal parts amazed and terrified by the coming possibilities.
CYL CYL 8 years
Cool..and sounds like an episode of The Fringe
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
ugh, cant wait for the citizen sugar thought helmet - i cant be bothered with typing anymore!!
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